Late yesterday, science-fiction fans got a great bit of news: District 9 director Neill Blomkamp will be directing a new Alien film. This is good on many levels, since the Alien franchise needs some serious love (sorry, Prometheus made things worse, not better) and given the genius of District 9, Blomkamp is the man to bring back the glory. Not only would another great Alien film help us forget the mess that was Alien: Resurrection, it could also secure Blomkamp as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood sci-fi and maybe even kick off a revival of other moribund sci-fi franchises. And if that were to happen, well, I have a few ideas about what should be brought back and who should handle what…
Give The Last Starfighter to James Gunn
Anyone remember The Last Starfighter? It was a mid-’80s wish-fulfillment space opera about a guy who’s so fucking good at a shoot-em-up space game, aliens recruit him to save the galaxy. Turns out the game was actually a trainer/recruiting tool, and suddenly those mad arcade skills are all that can stop the annihilation of everything good in the galaxy. The original was lightweight, fun and zippy, if a little rough around the edges, so who better to remake it into a modern-day sci-fi blockbuster than James Gunn, who just took the D-list Marvel sci-fi property Guardians of the Galaxy and turned it into a fun, zippy, lightweight blockbuster space opera with all the polish you could ask for. If he can’t make a whole new generation believe their gaming skills are going to save the universe, no one can.
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Put Edgar Wright in charge of a new Buckaroo Banzai film
Edgar Wright — director of Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs the World and other fine films — had never seen The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension until a few years ago. That’s since been rectified, and although I can’t find any record of what he thought of the film when he finally saw it, I am going to go ahead and assume he loved the shit out of it because he’d be perfect to restart the franchise. See, the original was supposed to be followed by a bunch more, but the fact that almost no one saw the film, and even fewer got it, kind of derailed that plan. And that’s too bad, because the world needs more rock star/surgeon/mad scientist superheroes, and who better than Wright to give that to us now? He’s proved time and again that he can mix science fiction, horror and comedy without any of the pieces coming up short, and he's got enough of a following that he could conceivable attract a reasonable audience to the insanity that is Buckaroo Banzai. Plus, maybe he could get Simon Pegg to be in it, which would be sweet.
Remake Forbidden Planet with Duncan Jones in charge
Duncan Jones debuted with Moon, a quietly brilliant piece of thinking person’s science fiction that garnered accolades far and wide. He followed it up with the intriguing and entertaining Source Code, about a man who slips into alternate realities to save lives in this one, which made more money but got fewer accolades (it’s awesome, don’t let the haters scare you off). He’s apparently working on a World of Warcraft movie next, which is kind of eh, but when he’s done he should remake the nearly forgotten masterpiece Forbidden Planet. This ‘50s gem set Shakespeare’s The Tempest in space, with a mad scientist accidentally unleashing his id on some space travelers who come to visit him. It’s a heady film, one of the very first serious science fiction efforts, and it deserves a modern audience. More to the point, it deserves a director who can bring the proper gravitas and intelligence to the film — and Jones is that man.
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Resurrect The X-Files with VInce Gilligan at the helm
Fact: Breaking Bad is the greatest TV show of all time, and show creator Vince Gilligan got his start writing for The X-Files. Not only that, he wrote some of the best, smartest and most enduring episodes of the show’s long run. If The X-Files is going to return to television — and there have been some stirrings on that front recently — there is no better choice to helm it than Gilligan. He’d keep the overarching story a hell of a lot tighter than Chris Carter ever did, and give us a whole slate of bad-ass new monster-of-the-week episodes along the way. Plus, he could probably bring along some of the creatives behind Breaking Bad — I’d especially love to see cinematographer Michael Slovis and occasional episode director Rian Johnson in the credits — to help bring the FBIs blackest sheep back to the small screen in style.